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Covington translates city documents as Hispanic population continues to grow in Northern Kentucky

Posted at 11:42 PM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 23:42:45-04

COVINGTON, Ky. — A new change within the city of Covington is making accessing grants and programs a whole lot easier for residents who are not fluent in English.

The city announced Wednesday it had uploaded translated copies of documents and guidelines related to homebuyer assistance, homeowner repair, and lead abatement programs from English to Spanish.

“This is going to be an ongoing thing, I think you will see a lot more documents down the road,” said Jeremy Wallace, the city’s federal grants manager.

It's a move that comes as the Latino-Hispanic population continues to grow in Northern Kentucky. 2020 census data showed Covington's number of non-fluent English speakers was more than 1,000. Wallace said the number is likely much larger.

“This is the first time we’ve exceeded the threshold,” Wallace said in a city press release. “We exceeded the 1,000 number of people who weren’t fully fluent in English, and frankly that count is probably low. You can fairly assume that the census probably isn’t capturing the full number of Spanish-speaking people.”

Before the translation, Spanish-speaking residents would have to request a translator. Reid Yearwood, executive director of the nonprofit Esperanza Latino Center, said the move is tremendous for a community that may be facing barriers.

“This is just another step in that direction and more work on their side to make sure the community knows they are welcome,” Yearwood said. “Anything that we can do to make (this community) aware of all the City’s programs, initiatives, grants, and opportunities, and let them know that they don’t have to overcome obstacles to understand them, is tremendous.”

Dan Hassert, Covington’s communication manager, said the city hopes to use American Rescue Plan Act dollars to expand these efforts.

A copy of the translated documents can be found here.

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